Abacha’s eldest son challenges El-Rufai’s revocation of hotel’s C of O

Mohammed Abacha eldest son of former head of state Sani Abacha has challenged the revocation of the certificate of occupancy (C of O) by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai in respect of the land occupied by Durbar Hotel despite the pendency of cases over the property’s ownership and demolition.

Mr Abacha filed a motion on notice in relation to a suit before the High Court of Kaduna State marked KDH/KAD/51/2020 on behalf of Durbar Hotel Limited by its lawyer Reuben Atabo.

He argued, inter alia, that the governor and other defendants in the suit acted in open disregard of the court and due process when they purported to revoke the C of O numbered 177789.

Abacha wants the court to set aside the purported notice of revocation of the C of O issued on January 24, 2020; nullify the revocation of the title of the plaintiff and issue an order for parties “to maintain status quo antebellum prior to the commencement of this action.”

Listed with the governor as defendants are the attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KADUPDA) and the Kaduna State Geographic and Information Service (KADGIS).

In a supporting affidavit, Abacha described himself as the principal shareholder of Durbar Hotel Plc, adding that the Kaduna government revoked the C of O when two appeals were still pending at the Supreme Court in relation to the dispute over the alleged forceful takeover of Durbar Hotel in 2001 when El-Rufai was the director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

Hearing in the motion has been fixed for February 4, 2021.